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Hungary’s government said on Thursday it had agreed a deal to buy MKB, one of the country’s largest commercial banks with more than 80 branches, from BayernLB, its German owner. The state will pay €55m for MKB and BayernLB will waive claims of €270m in receivables.

The deal marks what Mihaly Varga, Hungary’s economy minister, said was “the first step” in increasing Hungarian ownership of the country’s commercial banks. Viktor Orban, prime minister, has long insisted that he wants to see “at least” 50 per cent of the Hungarian banking system in domestic hands. Continue reading »

And it's goodbye from him

Bulgaria’s battered and unloved government formally resigned on July 24, its reputation shaken by its policies and alleged murky business links – and, more recently, a banking crisis. With snap elections looming in October, a caretaker government will now seek to steady the ship and repair relations with the European Union. The election is expected to usher in the nominally rightist opposition with the hope it will take a more reform-minded and western-looking approach. Continue reading »

There has been an outpouring of bitter comments under the hashtag #GuisoChino – “Chinese Stew”, slang for fraud and corruption – in Venezuela sparked by this week’s visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping, who granted more financial support to the cratering economy of president Nicolás Maduro.

China has granted some $50bn in loans to Venezuela in recent years according to the Inter-American Dialogue/Boston University China-Latin America Finance Database, far more than to any other country in the region. Venezuela, after all, has the world’s biggest oil reserves. Continue reading »

Investors could be forgiven for being confused by the signals coming out of Turkey’s central bank on Thursday.

Governor Erdem Başçi (pictured) suggested that rate cuts were likely to continue. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, he said the markets were pricing in a cut in the key policy rate of about 50 basis points and that any further interest rate cuts would be “measured”. Continue reading »

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Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, reported a 30 per cent increase in net profit in the first half as the emirate’s economy grows amid regional unrest.

But its main shareholder, the indebted Dubai government, continues to raid its piggy bank. In the past six months, Dubai borrowed an extra Dh7bn from the lender, in which it holds a 55.6 per cent stake, extending its overdraft to Dh98.6bn ($26.8bn.) Continue reading »

By Mat Youkee of UK Colombia Trade

Colombia’s oil and gas industry – the key driver of the country’s growth over the last decade – is stuttering. In 2012 it reached its goal of producing 1m barrels per day, up from 600,000 bpd in 2008. But in 2014 attacks by insurgents on a key pipeline hit production figures and delays in obtaining drilling permits have prevented the development of new projects.

Most worryingly for the long-term health of the industry, however, has been a lack of major new discoveries. A handful of junior firms have made significant finds but much of the recent growth in production has been the result of optimizing previously discovered deposits, either by bringing online marginal fields or by boosting recovery rates through the application of new technology. At current production levels, the country’s 2.4bn barrels of proven reserves will last less than seven years. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* EU to weigh extensive sanctions on Russia | Proposal includes ban on buying new debt or stock of Russia’s largest banks and from listing new shares on European exchanges

* Emerging markets slowdown hurts Unilever | Maker of Lipton tea and Dove soap reports bigger than expected drop in first-half sales as weakening currencies wipe €413m off operating profits Continue reading »

Who will jump first in Argentina’s game of chicken with its holdout creditors as they race towards the abyss of sovereign debt default? Or will both drive off the edge?

Although just a few days remain until Argentina’s July 30 deadline to make bond interest payments – a failure to do so would result in default – it is still possible that one of the two parties will make a last-minute concession that would allow a deal to be made. Indeed, if a compromise is made, it is most likely to come at the eleventh hour. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Fears rise of Russia-fuelled arms race | Downing of Kiev fighter jets adds to suspicions among western intelligence officials who point to an extensive weapons-smuggling operation

* Why Slim’s three-day week is a great idea | A shorter week would work for many others if their companies have the imagination to agree to it Continue reading »

After a false start this year, it’s time to rev those engines: Mexico’s dreams to return to Formula One are finally back on track.

The government has announced a five-year 2015-19 deal to host the race, marking Mexico’s return to the circuit after an absence of 23 years. Continue reading »

Jimmy Choos under your sari and an African safari for the Diwali long weekend?

A new report by Kotak Wealth Management and Ernst & Young – Top of the Pyramid 2014 – finds that India’s super rich are “ready for change” as a strong new government comes to power in New Delhi – and they’re spending to prove it.

 Continue reading »

Until recently, common wisdom on Brazil’s presidential election was overwhelmingly that it was president Dilma Rousseff’s to lose.

Now, however, the signs that the incumbent may have to scramble to avoid having a second-term slip from her grasp are coming harder and faster. Continue reading »

Jara in

The revolving doors of Peru’s cabinet are spinning out of control. Ollanta Humala, the president, this week named his sixth cabinet chief in less than three years, complicating an already difficult stretch for the government. Continue reading »

By Lucy O’Carroll of Aberdeen Asset Management

The Bretton Woods conference aimed to reshape the international financial system and end the protectionism that, in the view of the US and UK, had contributed to the drift towards the Second World War. Seventy years on, does the recently formed Brics Bank – set up by a group of emerging economies – threaten the legacy of Bretton Woods? Continue reading »

It is like the return of a prodigal son. Infosys, the Indian IT group, hived off its “products, platforms and solutions” business this year into a wholly-owned but independent subsidiary known as EdgeVerve.

The unit was first formed two and a half years ago as part of the group’s efforts to move into higher value businesses. But that strategy – dubbed “Infosys 3.0″ – has taken a back seat in the past year as the focus shifted back to the traditional IT services that are bread and butter for Infosys. Now, as the parent group’s financial results improve and a new group chief executive arrives next month, this young but fast-growing subsidiary is poised to come back into the spotlight. Continue reading »